As my birthday approached, I began to evaluate my life and think about what value I provide to my family – immediate and extended, as well as what I offer to friends, co-workers, acquaintances, and even strangers. The older (and hopefully wiser) I get, the importance of making a positive impact on others is something I consider more frequently. I want to provide something of value – a listening ear, a helping hand, an encouraging word, a smile, wisdom, and insight. I want to be available emotionally, spiritually, and physically to walk alongside those I care about and do life with them.
We all know that birthdays are usually a time for receiving gifts. Have you ever thought about giving God and yourself a gift for your birthday, or giving God and yourself a gift at any time just to value who you are as a person made in God’s image? The gift I’m talking about giving God and yourself is caring for your whole body, which is God’s dwelling place.
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
What is “impact” and do you have it?
Let’s begin by being clear on what impact means. Impact is to influence or have a strong effect on someone or something.
We all have people in our immediate circles – family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. we influence by what we say, what we do, and how we respond emotionally, spiritually, and physically when life is going great and how we respond when life brings challenges. You impact people whether you are intentional about it or not just by living in the world. Depending on what season of life you are in, your circle of influence may be large or small, but it still exists.
Why do you need to impact those in your circle?
The Bible tells us in Matthew 5:13-16 that we, as children of God, are salt and light in the world. When I think of salt, I think of a mineral that is used to preserve food (before refrigeration to cure meats) and also give food more flavor. In addition, salt has the amazing ability to enhance sweet flavors and make bitter foods more palatable. When we apply this analogy to our lives as believers, through Christ we can help preserve the world, give it flavor, and make the sweet moments sweeter and the difficult moments endurable.
During Biblical times the reason a lamp was lit was to be able to see in the darkness. Once lit, the lamp would be placed in an area where it would give off as much light as possible. Light also serves as a guide to show us where to step, to give us direction. Insects are attracted to the light and use it to find their way by keeping a natural light source, such as the sun, in their view. Being made in God’s image, this should be our desire also – to give off as much light as possible and to be directed by the Son. We need to be intentional to attract others to the light of Jesus by what we say and do and how we live our lives.
When we are not caring for ourselves emotionally, spiritually, and physically, we can lose our saltiness and our lights can become dull. We are no longer effective at amplifying God’s goodness in the world and directing others to a Christ-centered life.
Why is caring for yourself so important?
The most important reason you need to make time to care for your emotional, spiritual and physical body is because your body is not your own. It is a dwelling place of God.
You can also better understand who God created you to be when you make time to care for yourself – when you understand who you are and what brings you joy, what gives you fulfillment, what is difficult for you, and start growing emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
When you are spending time working on yourself, you are equipping yourself to fulfill God’s purpose for your life. Your ability to invest in, serve, and impact others increases because you now have something to give. You cannot give something to others that you don’t have.
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
What does caring for yourself look like?
Caring for yourself, or self-care, is the practice of taking an active role in preserving or improving one’s emotional, spiritual, and physical health.
Taking time to care for yourself emotionally, spiritually, and physically is not being selfish. It’s honoring God’s creation.
Following is a short list of possibilities for self-care. There are many more ways you can care for yourself – many of which you will discover as you begin to learn about who God created you to be and what helps you feel relaxed, refreshed, and renewed:
- Practicing gratitude regularly
- Scheduling downtime every week to rest or explore a new hobby
- Going to see a counselor/social worker/therapist when needed
- Journaling, coloring, painting, or drawing
- Listening to an encouraging podcast or uplifting music
- Reading and memorizing Scripture
- Learning how to dig into God’s word and understand it
- Studying Bible verses around a particular topic/word
- Learning about your identity in Christ
- Making time to listen to God
- Eating healthy meals and taking vitamins
- Developing a regular sleep routine
- Exercising, even if it’s simply going for a walk
- Increasing your water intake
- Improving your air quality
As believers, Satan wants to keep us too busy to take care of our earthly bodies and render us weak and useless – not making an impact on anyone in our circle of influence. When we are intentional to work on our emotional, spiritual, and physical wellness, our vision expands beyond ourselves so that we can be salt and light as children of God in order to impact others in our world.
Now that you know what self-care looks like in real life and why it is so important, where do you start?
Finding Me: A Woman’s Guide to Learning More About Herself is a great place to start your self-discovery and personal growth journey. The journal guides you through evaluating where you are emotionally, spiritually, and physically and gives you questions and exercises to grow in each of these areas so that you are equipped to impact others.
Renee Bethel, author of Finding Me: A Woman’s Guide to Learning More About Herself is a Christian identity coach and whole body wellness advocate. She helps Christian women learn more about who God created them to be using a Needs and Values Discovery process and the Enneagram through the lens of the gospel.